Let's pretend for a minute that we have a blank slate and can make any decision we'd like regarding the Athletic Department. Who do you hire as AD? What do you look for in an AD? How about a head coach? This scenario assumes that CPJ and his staff are not with GT. All other head coaches are with their respective schools, and they will only make vertical moves. No one is moving laterally. You can hire CPJ or any other "free agent" head coach. Also you need to hire coordinators. You need a recruiting coordinator. You need to determine where to recruit, and any strategy to use that we may not already employ.
So I would get started by looking for an AD with connections in the southeast. I would like a guy much like D-Rad with a business mindset. I would also like an athletic director that has seen success at an academically challenging university. A guy like Michael Danch at Notre Dame (currently their Assistant AD) would make sense. He has seen both success and struggle in recent years. He has connections nationally, and he would have a mind for building our brand. He would also understand the importance of tradition.
As for the head coaching hire, while I would love to hire Chris Peterson, I don't think GT is a vertical move from Boise State right now. Given that little caveat, I would hire Kirby Smart (currently DC at Alabama). Smart is an excellent defensive coordinator, and our team desperately needs a better defense. Our last couple of coaches have been offensive minds. I think a change in philosophy would be welcome.
For Defensive Coordinator, I would hire Kevin Steele. Now I know what you're thinking; why would you want a guy whose defense gave up 70 to WVU? Because he too is from the Saban coaching tree and worked with Smart previously. The two built a championship defense before, and they can do it again. Oh yeah, he also happens to be a helluva recruiter.
The toughest position decision for me is who to plug in at Offensive Coordinator. I love what CPJ has given us on offense, but he's not coming back as just a coordinator. The triple option based spread also makes recruiting difficult. So as much fun as it has been, I would steer more towards a pro-style offense or even just a more passing friendly offense. I say this because of the ease on recruiting, and the affinity among top recruits to go to these programs. To that end I would look for position coaches in the pros, but I would also see if I could bring back a friendly face. My first choice would be Ralph Friedgen. A former head coach with a good bit of success at Maryland, he finds himself currently unemployed. He won't win any Olympic medals for sprinting, but he can build a strong offense.
From there, I would let the coordinators and head coach pick the rest of the staff. I would assign Steele recruiting coordinator duties, and see how it turns out. I would put a focus on recruiting Georgia athletes and taking our state back from the interlopers from other states. I would make sure that our athletic department puts a big emphasis on brand building in Georgia, and I would also emphasize our players and coaches having a bigger presence in the Atlanta community. Initially I would focus on Atlanta, and eventually I would branch out to the rest of the state. The goal of all of this would be to remind the Georgia population that we are still here, we play big boy football, and to build our fan base beyond just alumni.
Now if you've read this far, I'd like to hear what everyone else would like to see from the Athletic Department. Who do you hire, what strategies do you employ, and what do you want to emphasize?